Rivers State Threatens #EndSARS Protesters, Oyo Youth Rejects Truce

…Akintola Offers Free Legal Aid

Richard Ginika Izuora

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike on Monday, October 12, threatened #EndSARS protesters, warning that anyone arrested would be prosecuted.

The Governor issued an Edict outlawing all forms of protests calling for the abolition of the Police unit.

This mandate comes after days of sustained #EndSARS protests across the country over reports of brutality, harassment; as well as extrajudicial killings by SARS operatives.

Mohammed Adamu, the Police Inspector General, IGP, had issued a directive on Sunday, disbanding the unit.

But protesters rejected the announcement insisting that more concrete steps must be taken on proscribing SARS. They based their argument on the fact that similar directives had been given in the past.

However, in a statement issued on Monday night by Paulinus Nsirim, Commissioner for Information and Communications; Wike warned Rivers residents against embarking on #EndSARS protests.

According to Wike, there was no need for further protests since the SARS unit has been scrapped by the IGP.

“The Rivers State Government hereby [wishes] to inform the general public that all forms of protests have been banned throughout the State,” the statement read.

“Therefore, all proposed protests under #EndSARS Campaign are hereby prohibited.

“Government took this decision because the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had already scrapped the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. Therefore, there is no need for any form of protest against a Unit of the Police Force that no longer exists.

“Parents and Guardians are therefore advised to ensure that their children or wards do not violate this order.

“Law enforcement agencies are also directed to ensure that the ban is enforced and that violators are brought to book.”

In Oyo State, leaders of the #EndSARS protesters in Ogbomoso, on Monday, October 12, agreed a ceasefire provided some conditions were met.

Amongst these conditions are that Police authorities must release arrested protesters, prosecute Police officers who killed Jimoh Isiaka at the weekend.

The youths gave these conditions during a meeting facilitated by a community leader and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo, Akinwale Akinwole.

This is as part of efforts by the government to ensure peace return to Ogbomoso.

Normalcy returned to the community after the meeting.

One of the leaders, who gave his name as Taju, said: “Those who were killed by the Police are innocent people.

“The victims were not part of the agitation to #EndSARS slogan that rented the air. The Police came to our areas to arrest our innocent brothers and even relatives of the deceased.

“We will desist from violent and allow peace and normalcy to return to the town, but the Police must release all those that have been arrested and the Police  must also present the officers that shot at people during the protest.”

Akinwole, popularly called Wolekanle, while addressing the youths at the meeting, commended them for embarking on the protest that led to the disbandment of the SARS unit.

He however frowned at how the palace of Soun of Ogbomosho, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi was attacked and vandalised on Sunday.

He said: “The #EndSARS protest was a right step taken at a right time and thank God SARS has been disbanded by the IGP but the way the palace of Soun of Ogbomoso was destroyed on Sunday was uncalled for.

“Talk has already been initiated in town; and I can assure you that everything will be settled; but you have to be calm. Governor Seyi Makinde is not happy with the development and is already wading in to see how lasting peace would be achieved.”

Meanwhile, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Niyi Akintola has offered to join other legal practitioners in the democratic wing of Egbe Amofin Oodua in providing free legal representation to individuals arrested during the #EndSARS campaign in some parts of the country.

He made the offer in a statement personally signed and made available to newsmen on Monday in Ibadan.

A number of Nigerians who took part in the #EndSARS protest have been arrested and detained by the Police.

The legal luminary said that the free legal representation will be available to detained protesters in Akure, Ado-Ekiti; as well as Abeokuta, Ilorin, Ibadan,, Osogbo, Lagos and Abuja.

Akintola said that the free legal services followed the decision of the democratic wing of Egbe Amofin Oodua.

“Many of our colleagues of Yoruba extraction have placed their colleagues in chambers on stand by for this purpose in Akure, Ado Ekiti, Abeokuta, Ilorin, Ibadan, Osogbo, Lagos and Abuja.

“Feel free to contact the undersigned if you or your relation is unjustifiably detained in any part of towns; or state mentioned as a result of protests against the barbaric acts of FSARS,” he said.

“The death of our compatriots in Ogbomoso and indeed of any Nigerian in such a gruesome manner over a constitutionally guaranteed right is most unfortunate and condemnable.

“But the attack on the palace of our most revered father and Monarch of Ogbomosoland is an apostasy; sacrilegious, barbaric, crude, uncouth and most unreasonable in the circumstances of the prevailing situation in the country.

“The revered Kabiyesi is neither the IGP, CP nor the Chief Security Officer of Oyo State. The Kabiyesi is not even the Local Government Chairman of any of five Local Governments in Ogbomosholand. Why visiting the revered Kabiyesi palace with such barbaric acts of hooliganism and violence? Why fighting a good cause with wrong weapons? The acts of violence on the revered Palace is un-Yoruba-like,” he said.

He stated that those who destroyed and vandalised the sacred palace of the revered monarch should also be brought to book.

According to him, “these unbecoming acts of criminality must not be swept under the carpet. A judicial commission of inquiry into the crimes should be instituted immediately by the governor of Oyo State.”

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